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Race Report: Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 4 - Capitol Forest Classic

Sep 2, 2015
by Eric Ashley  
Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Darrin Seeds charges into a misty stage-one during Sunday's enduro (Pro Men).

With the torrential rains of Yacolt out of the way, round four of the Shimano Cascadia Dirt Cup presented by Cannondale headed to Washington State's Capitol backyard as part of the 9th annual Capitol Forest Classic. Hosted by the Friends of Capitol Forest, the festival is a grassroots event with a staunch following and a reputation for a lively party that keeps going deep into the night. In previous years an XC race on Saturday was followed by a Super-D on Sunday. But with forces combing this year, Sunday's Super-D was replaced with round four of the CDC. The most ambitious racers could compete both days and automatically enter into the All Mountain category for a shot at becoming King or Queen of the Mountain.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Katie Jackson remains impervious to the weather Saturday, at least for the start of the cross-country race (Expert Women).

In an ominous repeat of round three, weeks of dry trails were forecasted to receive an onrush of rain just in time for the races to begin. While Friday afternoon was quite pleasant for any who came to pre-ride, the clouds rolled in over night and set the stage for the weekend. A break in the weather for Saturday's rider meeting had the most optimistic wondering if the rain might just hold off... it didn't. As soon as racer's started around their short seeding lap the rain came flooding back.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

The cross-country courses were split up into three distances with all categories sharing the seeding lap, initial climb, and final descent down the Green Line trail. Beginners would pedal for 10 miles, and Sport would add on an additional eight miles. Usually the Expert/Pro course would combine both of these routes, but this year a segment was added along the Porter Trail as a send-off for the trail which will be heavily logged next year. In total the Expert/Pro category would complete over 35 miles and 5,000' of climbing.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Top - Andi Zolton races through a misty wonderland on Sunday (Pro Women). Bottom - Sasquatch was onsite over the weekend to orientate racers.

Spirits started high, but riders quickly became more resigned as the miles stretched on and the pedaling continued. To further complicate things, high winds buffeted the forest all day, causing four blow downs across the course. By the time all 86 riders made it back to the staging area, they'd worked up an immense appetite for food and dry clothes — not always in that order. Luckily the food at the festival is consistently a success, and riders began to perk back up in time to cheer the kid's race through their laps of torrential rainfall. As darkness settled, most of the group dissipated to recoup from the day, leaving the usually energetic night life rather subdued.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  A lull in the rain lifted spirits for Saturday's rider meeting. Adam Hale (Single Speed Open).

"All summer long we prayed and prayed that we wouldn't have to cancel the festival because of forest fires," explained Lee Peterson during Sunday's rider meeting, "And our prayers have been answered." While some of the 250 registered enduro racers were turned away by the weather, a lot showed, and they were in for an exciting day. Six stages in some of Washington's most beautiful forests, somewhere between 22-25 miles (reports varied), and 3,500' of climbing. Initially racers were going to climb to the summit for stage one, but a benevolent decision was made to allow a self shuttle to the start.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Susan Clementson (Expert Women).

The trails at Capitol Forest aren't particuarly technical due to strict guidelines from the local DNR, but the trails are smooth, fun, flowy, and a great view is always on the next corner. Less difficult trails and rough conditions Saturday lead a good share of riders to tackle the race blind. Pre-ridden or not, mud was the big deciding factor of the day. As a bit of a change all categories completed the stages in consecutive order with the expected line and vehicle caravan to the top.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Pro Men circling the initial seeding-lap on Little Larch. Toby Swanson, Logan Wetzel, and Mimmo Futia.

Stage one was about as technical as the riding gets at Capitol Forest. A loose-rock start descended onto a smooth moto track with deep banked turns at the exit. Stage two was a flowy trail that started in a regrowing clear cut before heading back into the woods for more mud. Stage three was the carnage zone as the muddy coaster-ride invited racers to over commit in their turns. Stage four lead through a valley with short sections of rolling elevation before bringing riders back to the staging area for a break. Stage five raced down Little Larch, the area's newest trail. The fastest times required decisive navigation of the available routes, particularly the optional log ride. Stage six was the big finale down Green Line. The longest of the stages opened with a lush forest and the occasional root section, and ended with channels of peanut butter.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Center - Emilie Thy (Pro Women).

Luke Strobel once again dominated the day with his third consecutive win of the season. Andi Zolton (Pro Women) and Jason Eiswald (Junior Men) had their first CDC wins. Logan Wetzel and Emilie Thy had the fastest cumulative times for both days and were crowned King and Queen of the Mountain — a not unusual occurrence for Wetzel. Check out XC results here, Enduro results here, and All Mountain results here.

Throughout the day the sun and rain played a revolving game of tag, making it difficult for riders to choose which layers to wear on each stage. Countless puddles, miles of wet trails, and the occasional fall all left their mark splattered on frames, clothes, and faces. Many made use of a nearby stream as part of their post ride cleanup. The rest of us headed home after the podiums to destroy our washing machines. The Cascadia Dirt Cup finals will be at Tiger Mountain September 19. Trending evidence suggest it will be raining — and guaranteed fun as always.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Kent Girty (Expert Verteran Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Course conditions were changing rapidly - for the worse.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Whitney Andreson (Expert Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Emmett Erickson would suffer a broken chain and rear derailleur, but still finished fourth (Junior Men 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Hugh Zars and Dan Froula (Super Veteran Men 50+). Zars finished third and Froula took first.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Gina Hopper (Beginner Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  PJ Ramstack navigates one of the few root sections on the smooth seeding-lap (Beginner Men).

Hannah Neubeck Expert Women Chip Richardson Expert Veteran Men 40-49 Katie Jackson Expert Women and Justin Johnston Expert Master Men 30-39 .
  Packs of riders quickly formed as the elevation started going up.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Nicole Gunton (Expert Women) and Ryan Younkin (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  No suspension necessary. Ben Shaklee topped the single class open category with a five minute lead.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Jim Zimmerman (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Henry Gertje (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Justin Merle rides through the mountain's heart of darkness (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Both Eric Olsen (Expert Senior Men 18-29) and George Peck (Expert Master Men 30-39) finished first in their categories.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Bernie Miller races a private ribbon of singletrack (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Randy Iddings (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  All are welcome on the Porter Trail. Except motorcycles.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Course marshals and cheering squads weren't going to let the wet bring them down. Alison Angione (Sport Women 18-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  If racers missed their coffee, the Capitol Forest swamp water was doing its best to keep everyone alert.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Joshua Stephens (Sport Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Sara Boyles (Sport Veteran Women 40+) and Francois Cady (Sport Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Logan Wetzel (Pro Men) closes in on Francois Cady (Sport Veteran Men 40-49) on his way to fifth.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Water from above and below. Justin Resnick splashes through puddles on Green Line (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Chris Wood (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Runner-up in the most scenic turn on the mountain category.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Brian Gerow (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Not all of Green Line was a fast descent, leaving riders to slog through a bit of rolling elevation. Griffin Meyers (Single Speed Open).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Liam Dixon (Expert Senior Men18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Hannah Neubeck gets a real 'taste' for the trail conditions (Expert Women). Neubeck finished second.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  The sun was actually out for a few minutes before, but you'd never guess.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  James Stewart (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Kent Girty getting kicked around by the wet roots on Green Line (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Future of the Sport. These kids braved an extra harsh torrent of rain to put in the race laps at the close of the day.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  To the victor go the spoils.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Top XC racers received a practical medal to aid them on the path to recovery.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Junior Men: Alex Walker, Troy Peternell, and Luke Topol. Pro Women: Emilie Thy. Pro Men: Toby Swanson, Andrew Coe, and Mimmo Futia.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  With a more relaxed party scene, Sasquatch made a tentative nocturnal debut over the weekend.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  The CDC 2014 Overall Winner has been absent so far this year, but Alexander McGuinnis showed up this weekend to claim his plate.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Left - Gina Hopper (Sport Veteran Women 40+).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Rider meeting and warm-up. Antoine Issa (Super Veteran Men 50+).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  The weather outlook was promising on the shuttle to the summit.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Matt Seeman (Expert Senior Men 18-29) and Tyler Littlefield (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  While lower slopes were briefly clearing up, the top remained socked in with mist.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Luke Strobel skims the high-line on the first stage (Pro Men). Strobel put in the fastest time on each stage except for stage one.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Justin Fernandes (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Charlie Sponsel came in 36 seconds back to take second (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Gregg Eiswald (Super Veteran Men 50+).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Speeding through the mist.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Alex Davis (Junior Men 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  The bottom of the first stage had deep banked turns that were slicker than they appeared.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Case in point. Anthony Palandri (Junior 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Mother nature did her best to trick riders into thinking the second stage would be clear.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Kevin Foss (Expert Master Men 30-39) and Emily Sabelhaus (Pro Women). Sabelhaus finished third.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  The Lower South Divide Trail opened with a clear section before diving into the trees for more slick adventures.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Ferns, trees, and mud aplenty.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Jeff Lane fights for control on stage two (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  At some point manualing through puddles gets tiresome. Jeff Donaldson (Sport Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Matt Slaney moments after finish stage two (Super Veteran Men 50+).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Sam Schwartz edged out the competition with a five second lead at the end of the day (Sport Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Stage three was a whole lot of this.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Bryce Kans and Anthony Palandri (Junior Men 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Ady Bee Lane's high spirits weren't impacted by the muck on stage three (Expert Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Note, no chain here. Andrew Claiborne (Expert Master Male 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  A group of adoring fans greeted riders on the transition to Little Larch.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Scott Kemp having a ripping good time on stage five (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Alexander McGuinnis nails the tricky one-footer slippery-log-ride dismount (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Travis Heim (Expert Master Men 30-39) and Logan Wetzel (Pro Men). Wetzel came in fourth, earning him the coveted King of the Mountain.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  You never know what will pop up in the woods.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Jacob Flinn (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Pedro del Busto finding a clean line on Little Larch (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Matt Seeman starts the clock on the final stage (Expert Senior Men 18-29). Seeman took fourth for his best finish this season.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  It'd be hard not to smile.Travis Heim (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  These prehistoric plants seem idyllic until you realize they are covered in thorns.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Scott McClave making good use of the sun (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Naish Ulmer (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Neal Strobel held down a place on the podium, coming in fifth (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Luke Strobel continued his winning streak with his third consecutive win of the season (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Kahlil Provo (Hard Tail Open) and Gregg Eiswald (Super Veteran Men 50+). Provo rode to first while Eiswald's collection of mechanicals sent him into seventh.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  In the end, the elements won when an over-humidified camera put an early stop to the shooting.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Many racers took advantage of this stream to get nature clean. Left - J.R. Rager (Sport Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Junior Men: Jason Eiswald, Jimmy Cloherty, Layton Meyers, Brayden Buchanan, and Gideon Bender. Pro Women: Andi Zolton, Emilie Thy, and Emily Sabelhaus. Pro Men: Luke Strobel, Charlie Sponsel, Alexander McGuinnis, Logan Wetzel, and Neal Strobel.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Lee Peterson sounds the raffle horn - now in anodized green.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Left - Gregory MacDonald keeps Emilie Thy honest. Right - Dugan Crittenden comes to terms with the $1,000 credit he won towards a new bike.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  FOCF President Kelly Wood hugs it out with Trey Wilson, CDC Series Director, after receiving a $4,000 check for the trails.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Capitol Forest Classic 2015
  Logan Wetzel and Emilie Thy receive their crowns fashioned from local materials (King and Queen of the Mountain 2015).
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17 Comments

  • + 8
 Love the main pic of this article... that year Nomad was one of the best looking bikes of all time. The new colors are hideous.
  • + 2
 It's crazy that that was very VERY nearly a Stealth Black one!
  • + 7
 Typically it's the trolls more interested in comment thread drama than the actual story artistically captured and shared in the race recap. #ericashley #nailedit
  • + 8
 One of the better racing photo shoots on pinkbike in a while. Nice work!
  • + 6
 Yes dude. Emmet Erikson takes fourth with middle finger braking and a skate helmet.
  • + 1
 Can someone please steal his bike and setup his cockpit better?
  • + 4
 Killer coverage, really captured the fun of everything. I think I might be forced to join in these shenanigans next year... Until then, thanks for the awesome pictures and long live the king.
  • + 2
 This riding looks sooo fricking fun man! It's so dry up here in NorCal...haven't seen this type of riding in the central valley ever! Have to head further north or over to the coast! Great photos; looks like a fun event!
  • + 5
 well done @ericashley
  • + 2
 Amazing photo mountain bike journalism. Major props to The photog! Looks like a lot of fun despite the rain!
  • + 3
 Love that they showed all classes.
  • + 2
 Solid 4 hours of scrolling before i arrived at the comments
  • + 2
 Best coverage and pics of a local race I've seen, awesome job!
  • + 1
 I guess you have to read the article to really know what this is... But Ive heard if your read, its a sign of craziness.
  • + 2
 Awesome event! Thank you @CascadiaDirtCup & Friends Of Capitol Forest!
  • + 2
 Love the crowns!
  • - 3
 Huh

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